Died aged c. 70
George Orson Welles (May 6, 1915 – October 10, 1985) was an American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter, known for his innovative work in film, radio and theatre. He is considered to be among the greatest and most influential filmmakers of all time. While in his 20s, Welles directed high-profile stage productions for the Federal Theatre Project, including an adaptation of Macbeth with an entirely African-American cast and the political musical The Cradle Will Rock. In 1937, he and John Houseman founded the Mercury Theatre, an independent repertory theatre company that presented a series of productions on Broadway through 1941, including Caesar (1937), an adaptation of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. In 1938, his radio anthology series The Mercury Theatre on the Air gave Welles the platform to find international fame as the director and narrator of a radio adaptation of H. G. Wells's novel The War of the Worlds, which caused some listeners to believe that an invasion by extraterrestrial beings was in fact occurring. Although reports of panic were mostly false and overstated, they rocketed 23-year-old Welles to notoriety. His first film was Citizen Kane (1941), which is consistently ranked as one of the greatest films ever made and which he co-wrote, produced, directed and starred in as the title character, Charles Foster Kane. Welles released twelve other features, the most acclaimed of which include The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), The Lady from Shanghai (1947), Touch of Evil (1958), The Trial (1962), Chimes at Midnight (1966) and F for Fake (1973). His distinctive directorial style featured layered and nonlinear narrative forms, uses of lighting such as chiaroscuro, unusual camera angles, sound techniques borrowed from radio, deep focus shots and long takes. He has been praised as "the ultimate auteur". Welles was an outsider to the studio system and struggled for creative control on his projects early on with the major film studios in Hollywood and later in life with a variety of independent financiers across Europe, where he spent most of his career. Many of his films were either heavily edited or remained unreleased. Some, like Touch of Evil, have been painstakingly re-edited from his notes. With a development spanning almost 50 years, Welles's final film, The Other Side of the Wind, was posthumously released in 2018. Welles had three marriages, including one with Rita Hayworth, and three children. Known for his baritone voice, Welles performed extensively across theatre, radio, and film. He was a lifelong magician, noted for presenting troop variety shows in the war years. He was a lifelong member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Society of American Magicians. In 2002, he was voted the greatest film director of all time in two British Film Institute polls among directors and critics. In 2018, he was included in the list of the 50 greatest Hollywood actors of all time by The Daily Telegraph.DbPedia
Commemorated on 1 plaque
Mercury. Why, man, he doth bestride the world like a Colossus... - William Shakespeare. On this site in 1937, legendary American actor - writer - director - producer Orson Welles founded the Mercury Theatre with John Houseman. Here Welles directed groundbreaking productions of Julius Caesar, The Shoemaker's Holiday, Heartbreak House, and Danton's Death. Welles and The Mercury would go on to make history with The War of The Worlds broadcast and Citizen Kane. Astonishingly, he would accomplish all this by his 26th birthday.
110 West 41st Street, New York, NY, United States where they founded the Mercury Theatre (1937)